• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Sunday, December 07, 2014

    No Gut -- No Glory

    Strange Patterns In The Water
    they work now as they did then

    .. It's as arcane as it can be. Playing with caterpillar guts during a Winter evening and assembling some galling devices to prick a critter with a brain the size of a split pea.
    .. Perhaps the device should have some bird and mammal parts as well as larval intestine. Pheasant tail cries out to be used at the aft end. Simple golden silk thread from mom's embroidery basket can work for the body and a bit of red wool from that old  Persian Balouch Rug will fit right in at the throat.
    .. Black hackle that is way too big for any self respecting trout fly ought to be densely palmered forward to hide mom's silk thread. A wee bit of elk fuzz from the inner hind leg of a small cow should make an excellent head and a pair of two-toned turkey feather segments will be a decent wing over it all.
    .. No cute and fancy loop eye for this device. The gut is tightly twisted in a solution of glycerine and warm water and tied with secret knots and incantations to the hook shank. It's sometimes called a self-leader. It gets coiled up while still damp and pliable. It'll take some warm water and some spit to bring it back to life when it comes time to use it. Usually forward thinking is necessary on the night before a winter adventure is anticipated. Soak 'em good.
    .. We didn't invent this configuration of dead fluff and feathers. It was devised even before Queen Victoria plunked her bottom down upon the throne. This is an old standard fly that has taken many a fish. Seldom do you see it listed as a "Classic Salmon Fly"  --  but it truly is: works for sea run Brown Trout and hold-over submarines in our neighborhood too.
    .. We like the old flies. They are simple, colorful, sturdy, and more effective than a double handful of offerings from the bins at the musty and popular stores in town.
    .. Many of the local feather merchants employ winter help that extol the virtues of a "run-n-gun gonzo approach"  to our neighborhood streams.
    .. Pound 'em with one and then another and then another and yet another fly. Cover a lot of water. Bust through the snow. Try three or four nymph patterns that we couldn't sell during the summer. If the nymphs don't work try our leftover streamers they might work if you have five or six patterns.
    .. Try all the places possible. Catch every fish in the stream and retire to the pub to tell some lies. Great exercise.
    .. From a relaxation point of view - it ain't our schtick. We gather up a slow buggy whip, a few seldom seen patterns and stroll between a couple of holes and hides and tickle a fish or two. Certainly not in keeping with most contemporary fishing behavior. But, that's just us.
    .. You will not find these flies in the spiffy synthetic fly boxes advertised in magazines, catalogs or blogs. A few will do just fine on a Winter's afternoon. Stick them in your hat or just stuff them in your pocket. They are made to be abused, (by fish and fishers.) They work just as good now as they ever have.
    .. These flies descend to us from a time  -- long gone  -- that needed less of just about everything. By the time Kelson published his tomb it was apparent that diversity and artifice were soaring. By 1895 fly fishing had finally reached a modern mentality.
    .. It had become elitist, (like today,) it had begun to glorify gear, (like today,) it emphasized both numbers and size of fish as part of a successful experience, (like today.) Hero photos were de rigueur, (like today,) territoriality and secrecy were employed to enhance one's supposed expertise, (like today.)
    .. We prefer gentility and relaxation to braggadocio and gear worship. We prefer intimate immersion in a few select places to sweeping visitations and mere casual acquaintanceship. We prefer a few old flies and other well worn gear to the latest and greatest of whatever the industry has to offer right now.
    .. We're out-of-step with contemporary fly fishing. We like it that way. For gonzo fishing and exuberant, albeit it brief, visitations check the blogs and feather merchants listed in the sidebar.
    .. We'll be sauntering - may fish a little too.